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Month: April 2006

Someday Will We Comment That An Athlete Has “Favred” His Team?

Once respectable quarterback Brett Favre has finally made up his mind about what he will be doing next year, and that will be once again playing quarterback for the Green Bay Packers. While Favre has a Super Bowl ring, will likely be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, and is the most iconic player in Packer’s history, his last few years have been a mess. Two years ago, he carried a mediocre team into the playoffs in one of his last great performance seasons. His stats weren’t overly impressive, but they would not have gotten that far without Favre.

But last year…ouch! Favre’s play really fell off as many of his playmakers went down with injuries. Favre tossed up 29 interceptions which, while still being well short of the NFL record (42 by George Blanda in 1962), helped spiral his team to a 4-12 record.

While many people would blame the poor performance on his teammate’s injuries, in reality it is a poor excuse. Yes, it’s always harder when you lose solid performers, but to easily surpass his previous worst performance (23 interceptions, twice) is an indication that, like a MLB pitcher, he’s begun to lost his stuff. It’s still the same old Favre trying to fit the football through the eye of a needle, but the ball doesn’t have the same zip. In a season where many griped that defenses were penalized due to strictly enforced pass interference rules, Favre still struggled mightily.

So, the Packers basically begged a guy who’s skills are rapidly deteriorating to come back once again while they leave their 2005 first-round draft pick, Aaron Rodgers, still waiting in the wings. And he left them hanging until a few days before the 2006 draft as management did little more than twist in the wind.

The question is not whether or not Favre can lead his team to the playoffs again, because he almost assuredly cannot. The question is will the Favre Farewell Tour be worth it as they push rebuilding the team off yet another year?

If I were a Packers fan, the answer would be a resounding ‘No!’

Thankfully, I’m a Patriots fan and no man is bigger than the team in New England.

$100 Gas Coupon Is Not A Panacea

These are our elected officials at work. With Gas Pumpgas prices getting so high, let's not look into ways of lowering gas prices or investing in alternative fuel sources, the US Senate has decided that the best solution is to give every US taxpayer a $100 coupon for gas (which will then go directly to the oil companies).

Does anyone else see a flaw in logic here? There's nothing better we could do with approximately $13 billion*? Besides, with a $100 coupon, I'm not sure I could even fill up my tank more than twice at current prices.

 

* based on 130 million individual tax returns filed in 2003

Sunburn

Well, I’ve returned from sunny San Diego. As usual when I encounter beautiful weather, I’ve come back with a bit of a sunburn. Oh well, it’s always worth it. I got to spend a lot of time walking around and exploring San Diego, and loving the outdoor venues they have. Westfield Horton PlazaOne was an ourdoor mall in the middle of a city block which had colorful and unique structures and walkways. It was a place that you could easily get lost in, and offered a nice place to explore since it was right by our hotel.

The other place I liked was called Seaport Village, which was a collection of restaurants and shops right on the edge of the bay by downtown. It was a peaceful place to explore many one-of-a-kind shops by day, and a great place for music and entertainment in the evening. Also sitting right by one of the main marinas, it offered many great views.

And those were just the start. We also got to spend some time at the distincive (if pricey) restaurants of the Gaslamp Quarter, and even caught a Padres game Monday night.

However, the best part was just to get away for a little bit. I enjoy my life in Pittsburgh, but sometimes it’s nice to get a taste of somewhere else (sometimes just to appreciate the reasonable cost of living we have here). I’ll try to get the pictures uploaded into the photos section soon!

Oh, and if you’ve been reading but haven’t dropped me a line yet, feel free to do so!

Live From San Diego

Howdy from Pacific Standard Time! I’m in San Diego for the next few days as my wife is attending a nursing conference for grad school. We got in this morning and got a chance to check out the San Diego Zoo before the beginning of the conference, and then got a nice meal tonight.

So far, I’m having a great time! San Diego is definately an interesting place!

In other news, I wanted to point out that I’ve made some progress with my updates to the site, or blogging/content management platform I’ve been piecing together. You’ll see that the article comments have been polished, I’ve added the use of gravatars, cleaned up the appearance of the “listening” block, added a photos module, and added a number of features for site administration.

Hopefully, in a few more weeks, I’ll have something solid enough to start sharing with others.

I’ll keep you posted!

Also, if you can think of anything else you’d like to see added to this software, let me know through your comments below.

Almost Science

It is pretty sad what passes as science these days. Was this study even set out to observer what they have claimed (that men have lingering distractions when presented with images of attractive women)? Did they completely forget to have a control group? Did they actually state that they measured men’s testosterone levels by measuring the length of their fingers? Where is the science?

Then again, maybe it’s time for me to start on that research proposal for the Belgian governemnt so I can study whether or not alcohol impares the ability to make sound judgements. Sound like just the kind of thing they’d back!

The Amazing Power Of Nature

Nearly every day we hear reports of how we are destroying the delicate balance of nature through pollution, development, and almost everything else we do. But sometimes, I think we ignore the amazing powers of nature.

Take the case of Chernobyl, the site of one of the worst nuclear disastersLynx at Chernobyl ever 20 years ago. While humans have been kept out of the exclusion zone (a 30km halo around the meltdown site), the wildlife has returned and is thriving like never seen before. While there have been some genetic mutations observed in the animals, it has changed very little about the animals themselves. And while the first generation of animals in the area typically died early due to the radiation, the subsequent generations have developed a resistance to the effects of the radiation. It’s a truly a testament to the power of nature that these animals have been able to inhabit the area successfully far earlier than scientists thought would be possible.

Another interesting case is that of Centralia, PA, a small mining town who was using an abandoned mine as a landfill until the garbage was set on fire and one of the largest mining fires on record was started. To this day, the fire continues to burn, and the town has been evacuated (except for a handful of people who refuse to leave). If you check out the link above, you can read more about how things started, but I encourage you to at least check out the pictures. Not only has the fire cause fissures that have destroyed a large number of roads, but the roads which have sat unused for the better part of the last 25 years are actually being reclaimed by nature. Serously, it’s just plants breaking apart the asphalt.

The sheer power of nature is one that is easily forgotten. Sure, we all know about the destructive powers of hurricanes, floods, tornados, tsunamis and earthquakes, but we easily forget the power of the rest of nature. It’s much more resillient than we give it credit for. You’d think we’d have learned that by now!

The Journey Taken and The Road Ahead

I was at the mall last night with Marci, and while she was trying on some clothes I had the salesclerk ask me if I had gone to IUP (that Inidiana University of Pennsylvania, for those not familiar with the area). I politely shook my head and said “no”, and she went on to tell me that she graduated with someone who looked similar. I originally thought it odd for her to ask, because she appeared to be at least four or five years my senior. But then I remember how surprised most people at church and work are when I tell them my age.

However, that and a post from my friend Chris (LeftWithoutRight) got me thinking about how much I’ve grown and changed over the last several years. No longer am I some aimless college student.

Just four years ago, I didn’t feel ready for life. I felt that there was so much more to learn and I wanted to continue on with school. After having spent several years trying out that road, I made the tough choice of taking my life in another direction and joining the workforce. Grad school just wasn’t the enriching and indulging experience that I had hoped for.

That’s about when things really started to change.

I had spent a lot of time in grad school trying not to get involved in things. However, when I finally stopped trying and let God guide me again, I got involved again. Especially at church. My attitude has gone from “I can’t” to “what else can I do”.

Somehow, in about three years I went from “college kid” to “church pillar”. And calling myself a pillar is not something I can do easily, because it feels haughty, but it’s something I’m very aware of when members of the congregation turn to me for answers to their questions. The funny thing is that it’s something I still don’t feel prepared for, and I doubt I ever will.

I had always been looking to the future, but a funny thing happened. God brought the future to me, before I thought I was ready. Or maybe I had just been looking the wrong way all this time. Nonetheless, I can’t help but wonder what He has planned next.

The Beauty of Spring

 

Spring

 

I must say that it's great to have spring back here in Pennsylvania. The last few months have been very long because we've had those too-warm-to-be-winter-but-too-cold-to-be-spring temperatures since January with a few glimpses of warmth spattered in. Now we've hit the 60s and 70s and look to stay there for the most part. And I must say that if feels like such a blessing. Every day I'm getting out of work and wanting to do something outdoors after work. My gym pass has been on the shelf because I just don't want to be indoors any more than I have to. Tonight, I'm planning to go shoot some hoops with Marci just down from our apartment, just because we can!

Now, if I could just convince my boss to set me up with a nice wireless setup so I could work outside…

Celebrity Cooking Craptacular

Welcome to the latest lousy idea from TV execs! This weeks Celebrity Cooking Showdown has started, and after one episode, it has ended for me. With another washed-up actor as host (this time Growing Pains' Alan Thicke, who I also loved in the Not Quite Human movies, but he hasn't done anything significant in years), a collection of C-list "celebrities", great chefs with little personality, and some garbled format, it was just terrible and almost painful to watch.

Let's see where they went wrong exactly:

  • The biggest celebrity on the show is probably Tom Arnold, who is best know as Roseanne's ex-husband.
  • Any show with Ashley Parker Angel is doomed to fail.
  • While obviously taking inspiration from the success of Iron Chef, they removed all the elements that make Iron Chef great. Instead of giving them a theme ingredient, they were already given recipes. There's not much intrigue when I know what they're making.
  • The tag-teaming with the great chefs is just rediculous, and really takes away from the "celebrity cooking" aspect.
  • Don't hide ingredients from chefs.
  • Don't force female contestants to wear high heels in the kitchen. It's terribly impractical.
  • I'm pretty sure they just pulled the judges off of the street.
  • Ah, constant drama music…without thee I would have my sanity.
  • Don't go telling the television audience that you are having a live 50-minute cookoff that starts at 9:09pm and ends at 9:49pm. I can do math, and I know that means you're not live.

My advice is to avoid this show at all costs. I belive the principal in Billy Madison put it best:

At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

 

Rich People Must Be Gullible

Wasting MoneyOtherwise, Millionaires24.com, a site that provides exclusive e-mail addresses for individuals to demonstrate their fiscal standing, wouldn't fly. The service has fewer features than Gmail, but costs a whopping $399/month to be one of the "exclusive" 10,000. Maybe I'm just too practical, but you'd have to be an idiot to think that the service would be remotely worth it.

Sadly, they probably will find their 10,000 idiots before long…